State Agencies Release Dairy Marketing Assessment Report to Legislature

26 February 2020
Joint Hearing on Dairy Marketing Assessment Report

February 26, 2020 I Montpelier, VT - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (VACCD) outlined to legislators today a report looking at the future of dairy in Vermont and the economic viability of expanding dairy markets in the northeast, major metropolitan areas and beyond.  The report comes as a result of Act 83 requiring both Agencies to research these concerns and report back.  (To read the report, analyze its findings and recommendations, please see below.)

While the Dairy Marketing Assessment Report brings research to the table, it also points to a number of opportunities that could best leverage the state's recent selection and funding as one of the nation's Dairy Business Innovation Centers.  VAAFM will receive $6.45 million over three years allowing Vermont and the region to focus on innovative ideas and projects that will give the dairy sector options. One of the most exciting opportunities of this funding is that half of the money will be distributed as grants to dairy farmers and value-added processors.

“We are focused on improving the bottom line for all dairy farmers,” said VAAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts.  “This comprehensive report gives us a path to improve the dairy economy. Farming is important and farmers are important to the future of Vermont.” 

Both the Dairy Marketing Assessment Report and the Dairy Business Innovation Center funding recognize the value of dairy and agriculture to the state and its economy.  In 2017, Vermont dairy receipts totaled $504,884,000 million dollars, accounting for 65% of Vermont’s total agriculture receipts (USDA National Ag Statistics). In total, agriculture was responsible for $776,105,000 million in receipts, highlighting the importance of the industry to Vermont’s economic diversity. 

Heather Pelham, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing said, “High-quality local food and culinary experiences are at the heart of the Vermont experience for over 13 million visitors to the state each year. This report reminds us of the important role that high-quality dairy products, such as cheese and ice cream, play in maintaining that Vermont food experience and supporting Vermont’s brand associations with quality and authenticity.”

VAAFM Deputy Secretary Alyson Eastman believes these numbers point to a state economy that thrives from its rural communities.  “The Dairy Marketing Assessment, coupled with the Vermont Dairy Innovation Center funding and innovative thinking, will give our Vermont dairy farmers the opportunity to improve market opportunities, create pathways for new products, help diversify their farms and address ongoing environmental challenges,” Eastman said.

VACCD Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein said, “This report is an important piece to help the Vermont dairy industry – an industry, like so many in Vermont that has combined its historic roots with innovation to produce some of the best food in the world.”

For more information contact:

Laura Ginsburg | VAAFM Agricultural Development Section Chief

Laura.Ginsburg@vermont.gov | 802-522-2252

Ken Jones | VACCD Economic Research Analyst

Kenneth.Jones@Vermont.gov | 802-828-3119

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

 

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